Second Grade STEAM: Students Design Geometric Puzzles and Share with Pre/K Buddies

Geometry in second grade? It’s never too early to introduce age-appropriate lessons in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM), and Mount Madonna School (MMS) second graders recently worked on a project linking geometry with art to create their own individual colorful geometric puzzles.

Students began the process by creating designs from wooden pattern blocks. As each student refined and finalized their design, they then proceed to sketch their puzzle design on paper. Next, they arranged the colorful wooden “puzzle pieces” atop their sketches. Later students replaced the wooden blocks with foam “pieces” corresponding to the different shapes used in their design, and affixed them to their sketches, creating a three-dimensional puzzle.

“The primary focus of geometry in second grade is developing a deeper understanding of shapes and their attributes from a three-dimensional point of view,” said teacher Prema Gammons. “I’ve found that students naturally connect to the tactile elements of our wooden pattern blocks, so this was our starting point. Having the students design their own puzzles was an extension of that idea, which allowed for greater access to this broader concept of shapes in space.”

This project took place over a couple weeks, and once completed, the second graders took their puzzles and visited the MMS preschool/kindergarten (Pre/K) classroom. There, Gammons read a story on shapes to the combined group. After the story, and working in small groups, second graders, preschool and kindergarten students worked the new puzzles together. This allowed second graders the opportunity to “teach” the younger children, by having them recreate the puzzles, placing matching color and shaped blocks to each puzzle piece.

“It’s wonderful to see the students share projects with others as it gives them a sense of ownership in their work,” commented Gammons. “They were excited to present their finished puzzle creations to the preschool/kindergarten students and be the teachers in this case!”

Preschool-Kindergarten Director Hema Walker agreed.

“The Pre/K children love to play with the older children and really appreciate the special time that they share together,” said Walker. “When the second graders present special projects that they have been working on, the younger children feel their excitement and pride in learning and are inspired to emulate these positive values. This positive experience reinforces the lessons that the younger children are learning and gives them helpful models to follow as they engage in their own academic endeavors.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communication,

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.